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A documentary film about the power of Caroline Mytinger's art to connect cultures across oceans and decades. Read more

Seattle, WA Documentary
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on May 6, 2014.

A documentary film about the power of Caroline Mytinger's art to connect cultures across oceans and decades.

Seattle, WA Documentary
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About this project

Thank you to everyone who helped us reach our goal! We are now moving forward with all aspects of post-production!

RECENT PRESS 

April 6th, National Geographic Newswatch
April 8th, Lowepro
April 15th, Bare Essentials
April 17th, Radio Australia
April 20th, Examiner
April 23rd, Huffington Post

ABOUT THE FILM

Headhunt Revisited retraces Caroline’s improbable journey to Melanesia in the 1920's, then known as the land of headhunters, to paint portraits of the native islanders. 80 years later her paintings have inspired two contemporary artists. American photographer Michele Westmorland and Papua New Guinean painter Jeffry Feeger, who motivated by Caroline's art, have created their own modern interpretations of Melanesians. Headhunt Revisited illustrates with paintings, photography and filmmaking, that all forms of art are instrumental in communicating stories of culture and tradition.

Self Portrait, Caroline Mytinger — Self Portrait, Jeffry Feeger — Michele by Jeffry Feeger
Self Portrait, Caroline Mytinger — Self Portrait, Jeffry Feeger — Michele by Jeffry Feeger

WHO IS CAROLINE MYTINGER?

In 1926, artist Caroline Mytinger set out with “bedeviled handyman” and her dear friend Margaret Warner, on a long journey to paint portraits of the unspoiled civilizations of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

“No female outfit such as ours could go alone to paint headhunters and come back with their own heads.  No man had done it.  No man had yet tried.”  - Caroline Mytinger

Caroline Painting Sarli and Wife
Caroline Painting Sarli and Wife

The two women made their way through what was then known as the land of headhunters. Their journey was nothing short of amazing and, at times, fraught with danger. Mosquitoes engorged with blood had to be snipped off with scissors, cockroaches the size of hummingbirds chewed on their toes and a volcanic eruption threatened the very existence of the artwork.

Caroline Mytinger published two books about her expeditions. And yet, more than eighty years later, Mytinger was nearly forgotten, along with her art and her ground-breaking expedition - until Headhunt Revisited emerges.

Smoke Spello by Caroline Mytinger
Smoke Spello by Caroline Mytinger

THE INSPIRATION

In 1995, a family friend dying of cancer, gave me a book from her beautiful library.  It was Caroline Mytinger’s New Guinea Headhunt. Marie said to me, “I know how much you love this part of the world - I think there is a bit of you in it.”

Little did I know how much the book would impact me.  

Fascinated by Caroline, I began researching her life and years later I found the paintings - crated away in storage at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at U.C. Berkeley. 

Marovo Lagoon Family
Marovo Lagoon Family

They haven't been seen by the public since 1935! I wondered, would these paintings matter to the people of Melanesia today?

IT WAS THEN I KNEW — I HAD TO MAKE A FILM.

After years of planning, in 2005, my expedition to retrace Caroline’s footsteps, became a reality.

Caroline wanted to paint portraits of her subjects depicting the pride and dignity they deserved.  I wanted to take photos showing that same sense of pride - to tell the story of change in Melanesia – to open eyes and minds to a place that a small population of the world even knows about.

Traditional Dance Show in Tawali, Papua New Guinea
Traditional Dance Show in Tawali, Papua New Guinea

I took a team with me for 2 months to film, interview and document the culture. We traveled by boat, following Caroline’s path, visiting many of the same village locations. With 90 hours of film, 10,000 images and Lauren Hutton as the voice of Caroline, it is now time to tell the whole story in a documentary film.

And who better than Lauren, with her rich raspy voice and her own adventurous lifestyle - just like Caroline.  

EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS

Remarkably, we located descendants to 4 of the paintings. It was exciting for me - and each of the families - to see cherished relatives in Caroline’s paintings. Caroline captured their culture and their history in a way not written or visually documented until the early 20th century. It was a great honor to share such a rare, visual documentation of their heritage.

For the Dance by Caroline Mytinger
For the Dance by Caroline Mytinger

Several trips to Papua New Guinea later, Amanda Adams of Art Stret Gallery in Port Moresby introduced me to the faces of a growing contemporary art community. I met a young contemporary artist who tells HIS story, with HIS voice, using HIS brush. HE is Jeffry Feeger and HE is Papua New Guinean.

Jeffry Feeger
Jeffry Feeger

Inspired by Caroline’s story, Jeffry has created a series of his own paintings and is currently producing additional artwork for the upcoming “One World, Two Visions” exhibition.

The Movie Star by Jeffry Feeger — Flash by Caroline Mytinger
The Movie Star by Jeffry Feeger — Flash by Caroline Mytinger

“To honor her work, I decided to choose a similar composition and cast of characters of which she had chosen for her work. It meant I would have to follow a somewhat similar, however different path, in discovering the kinds of people she met on her journey.

I felt it was important to capture a modern contemporary interpretation as opposed to a traditional look, to reflect the nature of our society in its present day - acknowledging that indeed times have changed.”
- Jeffry Feeger

Jeffry’s passion to paint portraits of his people living in a changing world is an inspiration. I have learned through Jeffry’s and Caroline’s portraits that all forms of art -  painting, photography, filmmaking - past and present, are instrumental in communicating the stories of culture, tradition and pride.

Photography by Michele Westmorland
Photography by Michele Westmorland

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

The film is in the can. All footage has been logged and transcribed. We have photographed Caroline’s paintings and scrapbooks, and located the archival footage and photographs necessary to tell her story.

We have one pick-up shoot planned in Papua New Guinea in July 2014, scheduled around the launch of “One World, Two Visions”. This will be an opportunity to do another interview with historian and project adviser Dr. Andrew Moutu and to strengthen the thread of the film focusing on Jeffry Feeger. We also plan to conduct pick-up interviews in the U.S. with scholars to provide more historical and cultural context.

WHERE KICKSTARTER COMES IN…AND SO DO YOU.

With your support, we can afford the post-production needed to edit Headhunt Revisited and complete the documentary.

This film is being made in the most economical way possible. Many people have already given their time and talent, gratis or at significantly reduced costs, because they believe that this story needs to be told and shared with the world.

Successful completion of this campaign means we will have the finishing funds we need to submit Headhunt Revisited for public broadcast in 2015, including an:

  • Editor

  • Composer

  • Script Writer

  • Voice Over

  • Graphics and Animation

  • Audio Mixing

  • Archival Footage and Image Licensing

A documentary film includes many stages. Any additional funds raised will support:

  • Marketing for Distribution

  • A Pickup Shoot

  • Additional Expert Interviews

HOW DOES KICKSTARTER WORK?

As you may know, the way Kickstarter works, only when we reach our fundraising goal, in the time designated, are you charged for your pledge through Amazon. If we don't hit our goal, you will not be charged. Only when we hit our goal will we receive any of the funds everyone has pledged.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THIS MOVIE!

Caroline’s art has connected artists and cultures across oceans and decades. With your support, I WILL have the chance to tell this story. Please contribute what you can and share with your friends.

REWARDS

Headhunt Revisited Wallpaper
Headhunt Revisited Wallpaper
Three Women Postcard
Three Women Postcard
Pair of "Little Bananas"
Pair of "Little Bananas"
Signed Print of Elevala Woman by Michele Westmorland
Signed Print of Elevala Woman by Michele Westmorland
Tin with love letter
Tin with love letter
Tapa Cloth
Tapa Cloth
Bilums
Bilums
Carvings from the Solomon Islands
Carvings from the Solomon Islands
Books
Books
Canvas Prints of Paintings by Caroline Mytinger
Canvas Prints of Paintings by Caroline Mytinger
"One World, Two Visions" Prints
"One World, Two Visions" Prints
Travel to Papua New Guinea
Travel to Papua New Guinea

NOTEWORTHY

The story of HEADHUNT REVISITED is gaining traction.  Here are some places and publications that have featured the film.

Publications:
Smithsonian Magazine, Asian Geographic, Photo Media, Paradise Magazine, The Seattle Times, The Explorers Journal  

Books: 
Adventurous Dreams - Adventurous Lives by Jason Schoonover
They Made Their Mark by Jane Eppinga

Funding & Honors:
Scott Pearlman Award
Women in Film, Seattle
The Jolika Collection
The Kling Family Foundation

Flags for Expedition:
Explorers Club, Society of Women Geographers and Wings WorldQuest

Lectures:
The Explorers Club - Headquarters and various chapters The National Arts Club in New York, International League of Conservation Photographers, Society of Woman Geographers, Beijing Film Academy in China

Dates are now being identified for presentations in Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Monterey, Los Angeles and Dallas.

MORE ABOUT OUR TALENT

Expedition Team:

The expedition could not have been possible without a strong team. First Light Films with Jeff Streich and Austin Storms, captured stunning, cinematic footage and audio; I enlisted my friends in PNG to charter the MV FeBrina as our transportation and base during the expedition; Dr. Andrew Moutu, a Papua New Guinean  anthropologist along with a host of other support people to make the proper introductions; Captain Alan Raabe and crew, Karen Huntt, Dick Doyle, Danny Kennedy, Maggie Fintic along with guest supporters, Nancy Rosenthal and Nancy Holland.

I would like to thank our many supporters who made the expedition possible. Please follow this link to see who they are: Supporters

Who Are We:

Michele Westmorland, Director and Executive Producer.A noted photographer with 20 years of experience traveling  to Papua New Guinea and other Melanesian islands, this story has been her passion for nearly 15 years.  Her other passion - scuba diving and photographing what inhabits the oceans.

Kimberlee Bassford, Producer.
Smart and talented lady with her own successful film projects, mother of 2 beautiful small children, lives in paradise.

Sandy Jeglum, Associate Producer and Editor.  
Sandy has had so many jobs on this project, she deserves multiple titles. What she is passionate about is the editing, video development and production. She’s the brains behind any video content on this page.

Deborah Kirk, Bookwriter.  
Although not directly related to the film portion of the project, the companion book is a true asset.  Accomplished writer, publisher and scuba diver, Deborah and Michele have been long time friends and collaborated in several magazine articles.

Elle Russ, Script Writer.
Her work will be cut out for her when the rough cut is developed. Originally from Chicago, Elle made the right choice to leave the windy city to pursue her career in film.

Icarus Music, Composer.  
If you liked the music provided in the Kickstarter video, then you’ll love what Eddie and Marta do for the full documentary.

Jill Friedberg, Story Consultant. 
Teacher, editor on several significant films - including The Meaning of Food, which Kimberlee also worked on.

Dr. Joshua Bell of Smithsonian Institute and Dr. Andrew Moutu, Director of the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery: Anthropology is their profession and they are our “go to” gentlemen for making sure the facts are correct!

And starring Jeffry Feeger in his real life part as an artist! 30 years old, has a family, lives in Alotau, PNG.  Is the voice of contemporary art and a rising star with brush in hand.

Risks and challenges

Working in developing countries like Melanesia is frightfully expensive. Because of the natural resource extraction business, it has competed for housing, fuel and food costs, thus making it one of the most expensive places on the planet to travel to. It took an enormous amount of capital to pay for the expedition. That portion is done. Remaining, there is pick-up footage for fleshing out Jeffry’s story, an exhibition and presentations planned for the future in Port Moresby, PNG.

Ultimately, the greatest challenge is raising the funds, not just for the rough cut (which is mandatory for grants), but to complete the final film, and get it into theaters. We have assembled an amazing team of editors, musicians, writers, researchers, sound designers and other talent to make the Headhunt Revisited story memorable, and to ensure we reach our final goal.

Although a much easier trek than Caroline’s, the research and planning for the expedition I completed was a difficult road to walk. Many people, male and female, thought what I wanted to do was far too ambitious. Eight years after my expedition, I remain determined to finish this film.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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Rewards

  • You selected
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    2 backers

    Thank you! Every dollar helps to tell this story! As a backer you will receive our Kickstarter updates and be able to stay in touch with Headhunt Revisited.

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    4 backers

    Headhunt Revisited updates PLUS a social media shout out PLUS the map of Caroline's journey as wallpaper for your computer.

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    1 backer

    Headhunt Revisited updates PLUS a social media shout out PLUS wallpaper PLUS a personal email thanks from the Director PLUS a postcard mailed directly to you!

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    22 backers

    ARTIST PACKAGE: Headhunt Revisited updates PLUS a social media shout out PLUS wallpaper PLUS a personal email thanks from the Director PLUS a postcard mailed directly to you. PLUS a digital download of Headhunt Revisited when complete (delivered 2015). PLUS a PDF of the Smithsonian story on Caroline! "A Gibson Girl in New Guinea" written by Tessa deCarlo — a fascinating read about our heroine.

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    8 backers

    NEW REWARD — The above ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS "Little Bananas"! A 4x6 print of Caroline's sketch paired with a 4x6 print of Michele's photo of the "Little Banana" she discovered while on her expedition. Matted together these two prints are absolutely adorable together.

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    15 backers Limited (15 left of 30)

    The above ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS signed copy of the Smithsonian story on Caroline!

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    18 backers

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS signed DVD of the film when it's completed.

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    24 backers

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS 8x10 print of Elevala Women signed by Michele Westmorland.

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    10 backers All gone!

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Collectors Tin —

    Caroline carried her art supplies in cigarette tins on her 4 year journey. In addition, a tin was found in the ephemera held by the museum. Upon opening this little treasure, what was discovered was a love letter from Caroline's husband (and short marriage). It tells her of his undying love but that he knows he cannot keep such a free spirit penned up in traditional marriage. We acquired 10 antique Chesterfield cigarette tins and placed a copy of the letter along with some colorful chalks.

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    5 backers All gone!

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Tapa Cloth — Tapa Cloth is typical for the Oro Province in Papua New Guinea. It is made from beaten bark of the paper mulberry tree and decorated with exotic natural earth colors, native plant dyes and charcoal. The Tapa cloth is very beautiful and very special fabric in Papua New Guinea. Tapa cloths are used during special ceremonies as costumes, exchanges and also for sale. No two are alike. Included with the tapa will be a signed photo Michele took of her women friends who produce these beautiful cloths.

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    3 backers Limited (4 left of 7)

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Bilum Bag —
    A bilum is a string bag made by hand in PNG. The bag is made by a process known as looping or knotless netting or by crocheting. Traditionally, the string used was handmade, normally from plant materials. Now, however, many people who can afford to do so make their bilums from store bought yarn and string. Women can be seen with a bilum hanging from their forehead so they can carry greater loads, such as babies or for the vegetables from their gardens. No two are alike! One incentive bag is a small purse, which the young girls like to carry when going into town – quite fashionable. The film team spent intimate moments with the women in Kofure Village learning about the craft and listening to them singing lullaby's to the babies snuggled in a bilum. With the bilum, Michele will provide one of her signed photos of a baby cradled by a bilum.

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    6 backers All gone!

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Solomon Islands Carvings —
    Solomon Islanders are known for their exquisite carvings. The expedition team filmed the rich tradition of carving. A variety of wood is chosen with Ebony being the most valuable. It takes years for a man to attain "artist" status. A signed photo taken by Michele of the carver will be included.

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    5 backers

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS 11x14 print of Elevala Women signed by Michele Westmorland.

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    5 backers

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS 11x14 print of Heera by Caroline Mytinger.

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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS 16x20 archival canvas print of Heera by Caroline Mytinger.

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    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS 16x20 archival canvas print of Sarli and Wife by Caroline Mytinger.

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    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS 16x20 archival canvas print of Smoke Spello by Caroline Mytinger.

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    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS 16x20 archival canvas print of Marovo Lagoon Family by Caroline Mytinger.

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    1 backer All gone!

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Limited Edition of Caroline's first book "Headhunting in the Solomon Islands" with original dust jacket. PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS your choice of a 16x20 archival canvas print of Heera, Sarli and Wife, Smoke Spello or Marovo Lagoon Family by Caroline Mytinger.

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    1 backer All gone!

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS First Edition of Caroline's second book "New Guinea Headhunt" with original dust jacket. PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS your choice of a 16x20 archival canvas print of Heera, Sarli and Wife, Smoke Spello or Marovo Lagoon Family by Caroline Mytinger.

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    4 backers All gone!

    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Dinner cooked by Michele at her Redmond home. PLUS Executive Producer credit in the film. PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS your choice of a 16x20 archival canvas print of Heera, Sarli and Wife, Smoke Spello or Marovo Lagoon Family by Caroline Mytinger.

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    ARTIST PACKAGE — PLUS Dinner cooked by Michele at her Redmond home PLUS Executive Producer credit in the film. PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS 2 16x20 archival canvas prints from the "One World, Two Visions" exhibition. Sarli and Wife by Caroline Mytinger paired with Top Town Friends by Jeffry Feeger.

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    ARTIST PACKAGE, PLUS Dinner cooked by Michele at her Redmond home. PLUS Executive Producer credit in the film. PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) and 2 16x20 archival canvas prints from the "One World, Two Visions" exhibition. Smoke Spello by Caroline Mytinger paired with Budding Musician by Jeffry Feeger.

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    ARTIST PACKAGE, PLUS Executive Producer credit PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS — 3 nights for 2 at beautiful Tufi Resort with roundtrip airfare included from Port Moresby. Tufi was the sponsor and location for the expedition team to film and engage with the tribes in Oro Province. We learned about tapa, tattoos and totums by living in the village of Kofure. Tufi Resort is one of the most magical places in PNG. Charming and picturesque, the resort has plenty of activities such as scuba diving, kayaking or visiting the local villages. Airfare to PNG not included.

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    ARTIST PACKAGE, PLUS Executive Producer credit PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS — 10 nights on board the famous M/V Febrina (for one). M/V FeBrina was our expedition vessel. It is the one and only vessel to scuba dive some of the most famous reefs in Papua New Guinea. It's the most beautiful and pristine scuba diving in the world. Airfare not included.

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    ARTIST PACKAGE, PLUS Executive Producer credit PLUS Tickets for 2 to the Seattle premiere of Headhunt Revisited (2015) PLUS — 10 nights FOC for 1 at stunning Walindi Plantation Resort. Walindi Plantation Resort is situated in Kimbe Bay on the island of New Britain, PNG. Walindi was the home of our expedition vessel and support base for the team. It is most renowned for scuba diving the stunning reefs - and it supports conservation in many ways! Airfare not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)